Our entire consciousness is centred around what we want. What we need. What other people can do for us. We start out in a state of helplessness as infants, unable to walk, talk, feed ourselves. We depend on our mothers to provide our very basic needs. We know only how to demand. We know not the language of asking or appreciating. We enter this world as takers. We take from our parents and our siblings and everyone around us. As we grow and acquire some independence in our bodily functions, our minds start maturing. Soon we learn that we cannot have everything we want on demand, as the world does not yield to us as our mothers did when we were born. We devise other ways to take and, in the process, we learn that everything comes with a price, so we learn to give in order to get. We learn about quid pro quo.
We get into relationships with our friends, peers. We find partners whom we claim to love. We marry. How many of these relationships are founded on our own needs and what we can take from the relationship. Young girls are socialised to check a tick box of qualities they want in a man. How many of those qualities are to make them feel good about themselves? ‘I want someone who makes me laugh; Someone who treats me like a princess, who is handsome and strong and respects me. ‘ All of these are qualities that serve the woman. In essence, are women looking for someone who can be of service to them? The starting point is what do “I” get from this person? If I give there must be a return of what I need in the relationship. It becomes almost transactional- a quid pro quo. Let’s flip the coin. How many men who are honest about what they want in a woman. Someone who will be good to them, take care of them, respect and honour them or obey them, and look good to boot? All these qualities are also aimed at making them feel good about themselves and also call for a woman to be of service to them. If both men and woman are looking for the other partner to serve their emotional needs, and neither has the objective of caring about what is important to their partners, it is inevitable that each will be left wanting in some way.
When they find attraction for each other and “fall in love” they are convinced that they will live happily ever after until both come to the conclusion that this was not what they signed up for. Most often both are expecting unconditional service, but neither is in the mind-set of providing service to the other first. Many try to change that person so that they can behave in the way we want them to, almost like repairing or tweaking a faulty model. Women may badger their partners into submission and their partners often succumb to keep the peace. Inevitably, the one who gets their way, ends up feeling a false sense of accomplishment, leaving the subdued one relieved to have missed another episode. Often the scenario leads to explosive fights especially when someone hits the trigger button. Isn’t it uncanny how partners know exactly how and when to trigger each other? Prolonged cycling of this pattern can lead to the breakdown in the relationship. They then proclaim that they ‘fell out of love’ with each other and either choose to endure for the sake of the kids, or they make themselves content with the good things and resent the bad, silently building resentment for the things they can’t change in their partners. Sometimes they have an affair, hoping to find what is lacking in another person or head for divorce. It occurred to me that this idea of love is a false one. Loving someone, in its most basic form involves compassion, caring and wanting what is best for that person. Being of service to your loved ones. In order to know how to be of service to someone, you first need to know what they want out of a relationship. How many can honestly engage authentically on their needs with their partners. Most often when a husband doesn’t do the right thing, a woman’s indignant mental response is that ‘he should know me by now’, or ‘How could he be so insensitive?”. In the meantime, the husband is floundering about in his head wondering “What the hell did I do wrong now?” Sound familiar? The husband does not know by osmosis what his wife is thinking at every given moment. Similarly, a wife may not appreciate why a husband wants to watch the rugby, instead of going shopping with her or cuddling on the couch. But dare they communicate their thoughts so that the other partner may understand and in graciousness support the other in a matter which is important to them. This would be caring, loving and serving to a loved one. True service is very different from being enslaved or subjugated. It is a desire to make someone feel loved in a manner they would want, rather than the way that you think they should be loved. One can only discover this if there is a real desire to know and love… Where the desire to give is greater than the desire to take. This is a truer love. True appreciation of this concept is easier to grasp with an understanding of the divine, a concept explored in the next article. With love. Radia